As published in the 6-24-2011 edition of the Columbia Business Times
I’m often asked by clients how to be more proactive, how to take a leap of faith to move off the conceptual process and get into action. It’s prudent to gather data before stepping out in any one direction, but many leaders get into paralysis by analysis, a restrictive position that keeps them from moving forward.
NASA scientists know that while a rocket sits on the ground, the entire project will stay in the theoretical stage, and they really won’t know anything, positive or negative, until the rocket is launched. Once the launch happens, feedback happens. All the instruments begin to function, and the active part of the project gets under way. That’s when the trajectory can be tracked toward the intended destination.
Remember this: Nothing happens until you take action.
Having a proactive approach to your life and business is a key indicator of your future success. The best way to get on a proactive growth curve is to take the leap out of formation stage and get started. You can become a total pro in taking action by following these guidelines:
Forget perfection. Do you avoid taking action because you want things to be perfect? Do you spend time scheming to justify continued learning as an excuse for not taking action? Although learning and looking at best practices are important, at some point it is pure procrastination. Learn to say, “Good is good enough.”
Take a risk. All of that calculating, planning and reworking are often done to reach perfection, or at least to reduce the chance of a mistake. It’s OK if it isn’t perfect; it’s also OK to make a mistake. When you try, you will either succeed or learn a way that doesn’t work. Either way, you’re ahead of doing nothing.
Focus on a goal. When you focus on something you want to achieve, along with the reasons why, you begin to create the desire to take action. Focus on what you want, and the actions needed to move in that direction will come easier.
Do something now. Just get started. You become more proactive by taking action. Decide what’s first or next, and take action now. The root word of proactive is act. Momentum builds when you do something. Start now!
Accelerate your expectations. Getting started is a good first step. The next step is to move faster. You become more proactive and develop that habit more fully when you put speed in your corner. Believe that you can accomplish more, try more and achieve more faster. Then prove it to yourself.
These are just five options. All five might not match your current needs, but I am confident that at least one does.
If you want to become more proactive, know that the time you spend looking at the list and wondering where to start is just another form of delay or denial.
Fire up your passion toward your decision or project. Your passion will not allow you to sit still. It’s the fuel that will drive you toward your successful destination once you’ve moved beyond the preparation stage.
Select a place to start, and just do it!
Tony Richards is a leader in the area of personal development and senior partner of Clear Vision Development Group, a Columbia-based leadership coaching and training firm. Visit them online at www.clearvisiondevelopment.com or follow Tony on Twitter @tonyrichards4